Legislators Honor Mat Su Fish Experts
The Matanuska Susitna Borough’s Fish and Wildlife Commission was honored by a state legislative delegation led by Representative Bill Stoltze Tuesday night. Stoltze told the Mat Su Assembly and those present at the meeting that the commission had managed to achieve changes in state Board of Fisheries policy that could benefit the Mat Su:
“The presentations in Juneau by the career biologists we are so fortunate that are served as volunteers. I know you can’t pay these guys, anything, you don’t pay them anything, but one thing you can always do is say ‘thank you’, and we appreciate what they have done and what they continue to do for the people of Mat Su on critical fisheries issues. We are out-gunned in so many arenas, but we bring a lot of knowledge to the table, expertise and incredible passion. When the Borough has made presentations, people leave shaking their head, saying ‘wow, we didn’t realize things were so bad.’ Not just so bad, but offering credible solutions.”
The Valley’s delegation from the 28 legislature had issued a proclamation in April honoring four long time members of the commission: Larry Engle, Howard Delo, Bruce Knowles and Andy Couch. Engle and Delo are former appointees to the state Board of Fish, Couch and Knowles are long time fishing guides.
Stoltze’s comments were echoed by Representative Shelly Hughes:
”When they come to Juneau, they are the best of the best and the room fills up and people are awed. The expertise and knowledge is really remarkable, and we are very much blessed to have them working for us. So I just want to say, thank you gentlemen, and those others who are not here today, we just really appreciate .”
The Borough’s Fish and Wildlife commission is a seven member volunteer commission which works to afford the sustainability of Mat Su salmon runs. In February of this year, the commission was successful in convincing the state’s fish board to change commercial fishing regulations to allow more salmon to pass into Cook Inlet’s Northern District river drainages.